Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2008 Issue

Hollywood: No Laughing Matter

Cbs

This sale feels personal


By Bruce McKinney

For a few days in LA this month it is going to seem like Hollywood memorabilia is a dime a dozen. This is because it literally will be. The contents of the Collectors Book Store in Hollywood with its three to four million items will be dispersed over three days as 3,009 lots. This works out to more than 1,100 items per lot, two lots a minute, 1.2 million items a day. When its over the largest concentration of Hollywood kitsch to come on the market in decades will have been dispersed. We know it will sell because the reserves have been set low, typically $200 to $300. The sellers don't want the material back.

What's there? It of course depends on who you speak to. What's interesting is that many people have opinions and many of them are unprintable. The same is not true for the descriptions that have been printed in a deluxe 386 page catalog on 40 pound glossy stock. The catalogue notwithstanding, about this sale the only thing everyone agrees on is that no one knows what's really there. The lots are so complex that they are more akin to secret-Santa packages than traditional auction lots.

Lot 2331 is "Large Lot of 160+ signed books including actor, actress, and director biographies and autobiographies, books on film and movie tie-ins, as well as books about Hollywood culture." The lot includes copies signed by Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Richard Nixon, Charles Bukowski , Edward Abby, Ann-Margaret, Yul Brenner, Eddie Cantor, Jackie Chan, Michael Crichton, Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas, James Ellroy, Lillian Gish, Spike Lee, Janet Leigh, Jay Leno, Leonard Nimoy, Anne Rice, Neil Simon, Jane Smiley, Gloria Swanson, Lars von Trier, Fay Wray and many others. The estimate is $200-300.

Lot 2,332 is another "Large Lot of 350+ signed books including actor, actress, and director biographies and autobiographies, books on film and movie tie-ins, works on fiction, as well as books about Hollywood culture." Estimate $200-$300. This sounds like an instant collection or an eBay seller's inventory acquisition.

Lots 2333-2485 is "the script archive." I know you are now wondering which movies are involved. Think again and focus on an actor or director. Lot 2333 is 21 Barrymore items, 2334 4 Clara Bow pieces, 2335 15 Brando items, 2336 10 Cagney, 2339 16 Gary Cooper, 2341 24 Bing Crosby, 2342 7 Bette Davis, 2351 13 Judy Garland, 2352 20 Cary Grant. The list is long.

Now let's think about categories of scripts. Lot 2383 is 50 musicals. If you miss that one 2384 is 18 more. For those who prefer vintage material lot 2397 is scripts from 11 Laurel & Hardy films, 2398 2 Harold Lloyd, 2393 13 W. C. Fields, 2399 3 Marx Brothers. Perhaps you'd like material from the 'Our Gang' comedies. Lot 2402 includes 27 pieces. Do you prefer genre? There are 16 'Universal Horror' lots. If you feel incomplete with 'Planet of the Apes' material check out lot 2433. How about the Muppet movies? Lot 2431 contains scripts from 7 films. In this auction you can be fussy. For specialists [in what?] 2438 is 'Giant Monsters and Savage Beasts.' Twenty-seven items from 16 films will keep you occupied. If you prefer a director's perspective there are separate lots of scripts for Frank Capra, Frances Ford Coppola, Cecil B. DeMille, Brain De Palma, John Ford, Howard Hanks, John Huston, Sam Peckinpah to mention only a few of this group.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750

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